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Got cold again. Still a little bit of snow left on the ground but only were the snow was blown into snowdrifts. When I was finishing feeding the cows on Friday just before dark, I saw this and started thinking about my grandfather, reminded me of him.

Thought maybe I should not write about him here, this about the farm. But heck, I am the boss and can write what I want, your chose not to read it.

He was a painter, said in Iceland he was world famous in Reykjavík and even nearby towns. A joke maybe, but many an Icelander believed him to be world famous and maybe he was. My believe, my grandfather was one of the reasons Icelanders had the confidence to vote for independence in 1944. With a "world famous painter like that, anything possible, even independence

Anyway, he painted Icelandic landscapes and sometimes put beings into hem  he saw in the landcape. http://artmuseum.is/kjarvalsstadir 

You can see the heap of rocks. Put there long before I came here on the farm, said about Delaware county there are two rocks to one soil, don't remember how it is said exactly. Does it look like a face to you or is it an indication, I see one, I have some serous  psychological condition. :-)

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Guest Nora

LOL--Never heard that theory about the Vikings, interesting..had to google it!:)) Nice pic of these beavers they are real after all, I guess cause there mostly nocturnal you had a better chance  to spot them at the dusk! I've actually did not think about New York City Watershed, did not even know they visit properties...well what do I know..

 

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Guest Nora

LOL--Never heard that theory about the Vikings, interesting..had to google it!:)) Nice pic of these beavers they are real after all, I guess cause there mostly nocturnal you had a better chance  to spot them at the dusk! I've actually did not think about New York City Watershed, did not even know they visit properties...well what do I know..

 

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54 minutes ago, Guest Nora said:

LOL--Never heard that theory about the Vikings, interesting..had to google it!:)) Nice pic of these beavers they are real after all, I guess cause there mostly nocturnal you had a better chance  to spot them at the dusk! I've actually did not think about New York City Watershed, did not even know they visit properties...well what do I know..A

 

Yes a whole thing this New York City watershed, something I am very much aware of, the farm being in it. Will write more about it in the future.

And about the vikings, many different theories floating around and I even have one my self. Mine like this: Iceland was the first "slave colony" of the Europeans, the "vikings" by that time in more places than Scandinavia and had mixed with the locals.

In The Book Of The Settlement" it is said many of the settlers came from different places, mostly Ireland, Scotland, and the islands north of Scotland. Us Icelanders even consider Trump one of us for that reason.

Anyway, at that time Dublin was a viking city or town and the home of the biggest slave market in Europe, that is a fact. Slaves coming from everywhere, the east, the vikings going all the way to Istanbul today (Constantinople then) by the rivers of Russia. The name Russia another name for a viking("Rus" Arabic). Even slaves from Africa brought by the Arabs. The Arabs then taking European slaves back. I understand European slaves were valuable because they knew how to use European tools.  

So if you were rich enough in those days to own a ship and you going to Iceland, what would your cargo be?? Slaves most likely to work the resources in a virgin land. Then it got colder and those who could left, only us the descendants of the slaves left. What do you think about this for a theory? :-)

It is on mornings like this, mud, rain wind, just a little bit over freezing, you wonder why you are doing this. Then you remember, could be worse, you could be in Iceland and the gale trying to blow you away. This a picture of a road in Iceland where the wind peeled the asphalt off.

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Snowing when we got up this morning, this picture taken out the window just now, where is global warming when we need it? 

The other from couple of days ago, Pez by the pond I made some years back. When we walked by it this morning, at least two species of ducks and a gaggle of Canada geese on it. Not local I think, just visiting on their way north. Sometimes we have snow geese in the fields for a couple of days this time of year. Understand some of them fly all the way to islands north of Siberia where they nest. Read somewhere some species of snow geese were endangered until they figured out they bred on these islands and by changing when they could be hunted, save them. https://www.scnews.com/news/article_f9fc622c-1030-11e8-8889-9f8e9960dd60.html

When I was I child, I once saw a gaggle of Canada geese on a river in Iceland, understood these were transplants from Britain and had  started to migrate north. In Iceland we have the greylag goose, come by the thousands and thousands, breed in Iceland and leave in the fall for Europe. 

More on ducks. These channels I have made to catch the runoff from the fields seem to be perfect breeding places for all kind of ducks. When I walk by them in spring and early summers, the mothers constantly trying to fool me while their ducklings scatter and hide in the weeds. Pretend to have a broken wing and swim away from the ducklings. Then when they think they are save, just fly up saying "how stupid can you be?". One more thing, filled with frogs too, maybe I should change the name of the farm from Spring Lake Farm to Frog Heaven Farm. Cant wait for this telephoto lens.

Correction, something wrong with my information on these "Canada geese" I saw as a child, different birds, stop in Iceland on their way from and to Greenland from Europe. 

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I love the channels catching run off. We did the same at our place. We call it a berm and swale system. Very useful for planting trees in heavy clay or high water table. The trees are planted in berms which are raised about 3 feet off the ground, some places slightly lower. The swales are like ditches on contour that slow, sink, and gradually spread water. The spacing is every 30 feet.  Here's a photo from our place.

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7 hours ago, Dennis said:

I love the channels catching run off. We did the same at our place. We call it a berm and swale system. Very useful for planting trees in heavy clay or high water table. The trees are planted in berms which are raised about 3 feet off the ground, some places slightly lower. The swales are like ditches on contour that slow, sink, and gradually spread water. The spacing is every 30 feet.  Here's a photo from our place.

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Love the feedback, I am not alone after all thinking this the right way to protect the land. My channels or ditches are further apart, done so the water does not run away expect as overflow. Some of them dry out later in summer some not. Makes perfect sense to have them closer to each other. 

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Snowed overnight, maybe even three inches and now we are  getting closer to May. Two steers and two pigs, one for ground, going to Steiner today. Then no more steers until later in the summer. A few in the freezer, but we might be short midsummer. Has to do with I was forced to sell steers on the market last year, one has to plan in years with the beef.

Been thinking about Dennis's post, fascinating. It is hard to farm today, one is totally alone and  it considered a mental illness one doesn't give up and that is a fact. In my area there is nobody left. Some small dairy farms hanging on, some with a couple of beef cows and that's about it.

Further north and west in New York State more farms but one has the feeling, they all failing too and failing fast. Things are out of control, just a couple of years ago dairy farmers were not doing too bad, local yogurt plants buying the milk. But now it seems, milk  has become a world commodity, broken down into its ingredients and shipped around the world. 

What I was trying to say, one has these ideas on how to farm, take care of the land and do it right. But it all becomes nonsense in the end, bigger forces at work around one. The world that was with family farms collapsing, not only here in the States, the corporations making your food today all over the world.

And what is more, the towns that lived of these family farms dying too. This opioid epidemic in rural America, in my believe, very much because of this. Not because these drugs are so addictive, been around for a long time, but because people have lost hope, their lives destroyed by outside economic forces, being it cheap imports, factory farms etc.

So here I am, thinking I can take on the world, do my channels nobody understands except Dennis, how insane is that?? 

A few years ago I was told by the New York City watershed or USDA or the  Cooperative extension or EPA, never knew exactly who, I was in violation of something. Never told what, don't think they even knew.

It then went higher up, even to DC when I let them know I was not backing down, considered this conservation ahead of its time. At least my believe as crazy as that might be, more than willing to accept I was delusional, told them so. They then decided I was not in violation of thing thing I was in violation of what ever that was, never told.

My believe they just backed down because they didn't want that fight then. Would not be surprised they come back when they want to take it up again on their terms. This is what it is like to be farmer today, no lobbyists to help, no lawyers, no nobody watching your back, the last farmer in the valley. Out to load these animals for Steiner.

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Not going to put another snow picture in, getting too depressing, snowed some more over night, supposed to warm up over the weekend.

Yesterday I brought two steers and two pigs to Steiner. Took a couple of pictures there to show you. Also brought home the meat from two steers, the processing cost for the two of them a little over $1200, $1209 to be exact. These were light steers, so no more than 20 shares out of both of them. If we say about about $200 a share $5.95 a pound, then it takes 6 shares to pay for the processing, you tell me if it adds up.

Now I have to sell them , here is one Steer. First picture outside Steiner, one picture from inside, the crew cutting meat, hard work. Nathan the owner bringing  my meat out for me to load. I call him Nathan, not sure it is exactly his name, too embarrassed to ask I guess. He bought the place from Steiner last year, worked there before.

Steiner is still around, helping out even if retired. He was there and I asked why he wasn't in Florida.

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Frost this morning but beautiful weather, promise of a warm day, but then Temma said it is going to be in the twenties to night! When is this going to end, maybe no summer? Took the new used telephoto lens I bought on Ebay out this morning. The seller said he had used it ones taking pictures of the stars. Seems like he was truthful. I like Ebay, bought most of the equipment for the slaugherhouse there.

The first picture of the pigs sleeping in their nest. They make the nest in the hay and eat it too, even put hay over them selfs as comforters. Pile on top of each other at dusk and in no hurry getting up in the morning. One can not have too many of them together or different sizes, the ones on the bottom will be smothered, has happened more than ones. The plan to make smaller winter lots in a row with one long lot in front to sort them. One thing you don't want is a loose pig on the farm. They will eventually go where they are supposed to, but not until they have made you run here and there and to and fro, good exercise though.

I am not taking these pictures to win any prizes, just to make you feel you came for a short visit.

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Summer might be here, seemed like it this morning. After finishing taking hay to the cows Yesterday just before dusk, I took the dogs and my new telephoto lens for a long walk. Of course, this being a farm, it did not go as intended.

Came up on a cow who had decided to have her calf in a puddle. Then when I tried to move it, she decided it to be none of my business, me better keep my dirty hands of her calf.

When a cow starts to bellow (rumble?) it is quite scary, a deep rumbling sound, last warning before she tries to kill you. They shake their head, scratch with their front feet, but their head low to the ground, blow steam out of their nostrils and froth at the mouth, not a comforting sight.

She might have been more excited because the dogs were not far away, thinking them coyotes. Was able to drag the calf out of the puddle, put some hay underneath and home I went. Then after dinner I went there again and was able to carry the calf to a dryer spot, could feel it on my body this morning, they are quite heavy.

A sight I guess seeing me carrying the calf, maybe 70 lbs. in my arms while trying to look behind me to see if she was coming for me, but nobody but me and dark.  Took these pictures, a long walk as I said..

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First the picture of my breakfast, half a pound of pork and six eggs from our range raised chicken fried in pork fat. I am really a walking medical experiment. If I survive this diet as I have now for many years, my weight just exactly what it should be, you all should have the same breakfast. 

Somewhat of a challenge these days keeping the chicken all live and well. The plan to have these Decker rat terriers kill of the vermin around the farm so the chicken can feel free to do their thing. Just that the two puppies Pez and Pu have not learned their role in live quite yet, have killed a few chicken, but are learning through a tough love regiment. 

Took these pictures this morning when I went out with the dogs. The subjects are going to be the same day after day, the same walk every morning,  but different thoughts I hope. 

Bought a new memory card for the camera, shows 999 pictures available, means many more than 999. When I was a young man, I had ambitions to become a photographer. Then you bought a 35 mm color film,  processing cost included, either Kodak from the US or Agfa from Germany, 20 or 36 exposures. You would then send the film for processing in an envelope included to respective country and get the pictures back. Not cheap at all and you really had to think about what you were pointing the camera at. Now you can just click away and maybe one of them will come out good,  more- than 999 pictures available.

Saw this beaver this morning, almost as it was following us as we walked by the channel,. Only saw his back as it came up and went down again, not a muskrat, much bigger. Saw a muskrat two days ago, much smaller.

Writing about this makes it all more real, nice to be able to share it. The first picture of Blondie. She is the one on the logo, retired now. She did not have enough milk for her last two calves. But because she is a model, she will be around as long as she stays healthy, looks pretty good.

Was going to write about me breeding thicker coats on my cattle but will do that tomorrow, chores waiting.

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Rained over night but a lot warmer, the long Johns in the drawer till next winter. Being seeing these ducks in the channels and on the pond, but because the dogs run in front, they flush them up before I get close enough to get a picture. Either they are on their way south or they are going to nest on the farm. Many other species of ducks and maybe if I go without the dogs and have the trigger finger on the camera button I can get them for you to see.

I feel that as soon as it warmed up the cattle began to put on weight, a proof to me this coat thing is important. The cattle burns a lot of calories staying warm in winter. Healthier for them to be outside in the fresh air but costs in hay. Think maybe I am over this tipping point with the coats , enough of them with impressive coats now so I can start to select more aggressively and in very few years have most of the herd with thick winter coats, how about that.

Took these pictures this morning, just another morning on the farm . The beaver was at it over night, maybe it will follow us into the house one of these days. In one of the pictures you can see this white dot, Dumas the Pyrenees sleeping in the middle of the field, they do this even if it is below zero.

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Just a little something, took these pictures this morning. You can see Dumas there living with Eccho the stallion and has all winter. Soon the rams will join them. Had just terrible horrible wicked bad luck with the sheep this winter. 

Things greening up. For years now I have kept a discussion going in Iceland in Icelandic on a forum like this. Had well over one million hits. Would compare to over a billion in this country.

Icelanders about 300.000, us here about 300 million or 1000 times more Americans than Icelanders in the world. Multiply 300.000 by one thousand and you get one billion  Over there I am somewhat of a persona-non-grata, an outlaw almost, in exile. Here I want everybody to like me, you my customers one and all. ?

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Took these pictures this morning, never seen these ducks before and don´t know what kind they are, if they are just passing through or putting up a nest on the farm.

Was really down this morning, had this nightmare . Was driving around with orders and didn't know who was supposed to get them or where they lived, totally lost in some mountainous terrain,  dirt roads, could have been somewhere in the Alps for all I know.

Ended up on this dead end road and then driving in woods completely and utterly lost far away from civilization. Think I might have had this dream many times in different variations. Then all of a sudden in an elevator going up and up in an old skyscraper. Up and up to where nobody lived in it, everything empty. So if any of you have a degree in psychology, you can maybe tell me what's? wrong with me. Or better, don´t! ?

Again about my systems, all getting better and simpler. But for this to work, you my customers and your families have to eat what I produce on a regular bases, does not work if you only order ones in a while for maybe other reasons than eating the meat.

You have to believe, like I do, this meat being better for you than what you get in the store, pointless otherwise to go through all this trouble. Does not help your health does it, to eat this meat ones in a blue moon and live on Twinkie s in between? I do not hesitate to eat other things, but firmly believe I have to stick to my meat most of the time, being important for my health. One reason I am doing this, for my self and my family. And for the record, have not had a cold, flu or anything for years now, cross my heart. ?

One important part of my believe system is that the fat in this meat is healthier for you, find it therefore somewhat disappointing, you don't don't take all the fat you can get in the auctions and such. Maybe you don't know this, your brain mostly a big fat-blob made up of complicated fats you need from somewhere else, your body does not make them. My believe you don't get them from plant oils. As i said, believes of mine, the fats on animals raised on grass or hay, different from the fats in animals raised mostly on grain. 

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Yesterday afternoon I decided to check on the cows, seeing if all the calves were on the right side of the fence, no cow in trouble giving birth, dead calves etc. etc. everything good. Took the camera with me and took these pictures. I have claimed the farm should be named "Frog Heaven Farm" becouse of these channels of mine and here the proof, these egg clusters everywhere. A surprise to me, thought it was too cold, you can even see they have started to develop, some darker.

Somebody else was checking on the calves for me, seems like a young bird, its head still brown, or just the way the picture is taken. My ducks out for an afternoon swim, really think these dogs are helping keeping the vermin away, can see it on the ducks, bolder and going further, not stupid, know what they know.

 

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No pictures today, a delivery day, actually looking forward to being on the road drinking gallons of coffee, having an adrenalin rush and, seeing you guys and such, a different rutine than the chores on the farm. Took no pictures this morning but will put in an older one in of Pop to fill out the story I am about to tell.

She is just something else, took them for a walk by that channel the beaver is in. This time the beaver slammed its tail, not afraid of us it seems. Then Pop went right into the water, swam around and as if she was slamming her front feet into the water to make as much noise as possible, flushing the beaver out or something, never seen her do this before. And again this morning, went right into the water where she could probably smell the beaver, swam to the other side and them stood on the shore slamming her feet into the water. Guess I have a lot to learn about these dogs. Pip or the puppies Pez and Pu, did not show any interest to go into the water. And as a matter of fact, she is built differently from them, like she has a fat layer under the skin, a little bit like a seal. Quite amazing to see this, she is something else!

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Did the delivery, went well, not a big one but went all the way to Garden City on Long Island, even thoughts of going further east on the Island, stay posted. Also thinking I should have news of how the delivery going here in the forum, should be simple to do, stay posted on that one too.

This snow picture taken this morning out the window, might even be historical, May coming for crying out loud.

This beaver thing has taken an ugly turn, something you born in this country and raised always knew I gather. Your mother saying when you went out to play "watch out for those beavers". Mothers in Iceland only had to put rocks in our pockets so we wouldn't blow away, no beavers to worry about.

We have this farm but I am not a hunter, don't have the patients or what ever. When I tried to hunt I got bored very fast. But I have always allowed hunting on the farm, both to keep the deer population down and also a way of having good relations with my neighbors. Never had any problems with hunters, some even buy meat. So if you are into hunting, you are welcome, this picture of the deer taken on the farm a few days ago

So Yesterday,  a hunter who has hunted here for years and years came by for his annual permission and I told him about the beavers. He then told me they would kill my dogs if the dogs went into the water, news to me. I Googled and right he is, have to rethink my love affair with these beavers.

 I was starting to fantasize, me and the dogs would walk by this channel in the morning, say hello to this one lonely beaver and one day it would just decide to come back home with us,. Become part of the family and sit on the edge of the bed when we woke up in the morning. I would learn beaverish and everything. Guess that dream is over.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaver_attack

 

 

 

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Ice on the channel when I took the dogs out this morning except where the beaver lives. Didn't see it but it slapped its tail ones on the water. Maybe I should have a spear with me, a knife or something. Ones knew a man in Edinburgh Scotland, he had a cane you could take a sword out of if needed, He had the cane with him every time he took their dog for a walk on the streets of Edinburgh at night, a King Charles Spaniel. Believe it or not, Sean Connery was their milk man as a young man. Putting in a picture I took Yesterday, as you see, the snow was for real.

Going for a preventive medical examination today, one where you have to drink specific liquids to flush your self, not very pleasant, wish me luck. The reason, my brother died from colon cancer. Not that I believe there is a genetic component, firmly believe it is all diet. Salt, spices, preservatives and other chemicals we put into our bodies, I really believe this. That one reason I do not sell smoked meats. No salt , no spices, no nothing in my diet. Except coffee, can't make it without coffee.

One reason I am farming and raising meat, for my self, not only you. But if you want to come for the ride you are more than welcome, ?

 

 

 

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SUMMER IS HERE. The windows open to let the warmth in, seems like the house doesn't want to let go of the winter cold. Maybe I should make this into a "Naked Farmer Day". But maybe not quite warm enough for that. But at least the Long Johns and the sweater are back in the drawers till next winter. 

Everything went well at the examination. They said "see you again in five years", quite relived to hear that I have to say.

Took these pictures Yesterday evening and some this morning. Might not be prize pictures but I enjoy taking them and showing them to you. The wife said " just as long as you take pictures of nice things" or something to that effect.

Reminds me of a movie I saw years and years ago, The actor's name Eliot Gould, he a photographer who specialized in taking pictures of dog shit on the streets of New York, don't remember anything else about the movie. You are right, I point the camera in the right direction, enough shit on this farm to do a whole art show. As I said, maybe not prize pictures and their biggest value they where taken in the present, a little visit to the farm.

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Guest Nora

 you could wait and join others on Saturday, May 5th for  the official World Naked Gardening Day 2018 (usually first Saturday in May) :)

bummer about the beaver:( didnt know they are that aggressive!

 

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Guest Joey T

Thank you for all the great pictures and stories!  I work long hours in a windowless office, these pictures help get me through the day and feel connected to the farm. 

Your breakfast looks great.  I’m on a higher fat diet as well and eating quality/grass-fed animal fats is the key.  I’m glad to know you think so too.  This week I’ve been enjoying delicious beef short ribs from my last shipment.  I will be ordering some more healthy, fatty meat for the next delivery!

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19 hours ago, Guest Joey T said:

Thank you for all the great pictures and stories!  I work long hours in a windowless office, these pictures help get me through the day and feel connected to the farm. 

Sure appreciate this feedback, one of the reasons I am trying to do this with the diary, make you understand where your food is coming from. Some customers get frustrated when I make mistakes, don´t really understand how complicating it actually is to keep a whole farm running with the  marketing. Maybe thinking, that by seeing this diary you will understand how unique it is to be part of this farm and by eating what I produce you surely become part of it, your gut bacteria too, ? we a family of guts or what is in them. 

So we had a beef tenderloin, skirt steak and flat iron steak last night out of the bull and cow going for ground this winter. What a luxury eating this food I have to say. The Skirt steak the best had just the right flavor. We did not know what was out of what, the cow or the bull but it was good. As you see summer is here. The pictures taken this morning

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So much for my creative photographing this morning. Then Pu ended up on the wrong side of the channel and too much of a coward to swim over so we cut the walk short. Well just a little visit.

I am thinking a lot about how to go forward so as to make this whole thing make sense. The plan to cut back and make sure I only have enough animals to sustain the family and the direct marketing. This custom slaughter thing has worked but being only me, hard to fit it into other farm work.

I want to believe I am doing something important, that if it doesn't work for us, maybe somebody else could pick up the idea and go on. I could write a book. Better a "How To Book". Best a "How Not To Book"! Any of you a publisher? 

The truth is, if you think you are saving the family farm by buying from us, it's too late, the family farm gone to where the DoDo is. But just maybe we are are inventing something new and others could do it too.

One title I have had in my mind for a while "So you want to be a farmer? Maybe you should try lobotomy".  Or "So you want to be a farmer, have you tried  therapy?"

when I am finished here I have to try to coach some calves back to their mothers, ended up on the wrong side of the electric fence.

Been in communications with my lawyer in Iceland over night (different timezone). Trying to get a part of the lawsuit I am pursuing over there into court this spring. Been working on this case now for two decades. Told the lawyer this morning i was going to write a book about the case in English, this here done mostly for practice in English. Maybe he believed me, maybe not. Maybe he thinks his name is going to be in it, sent him a link.

Would love to write about the case here, maybe I should start a separate discussion about it. What do you say? Maybe some of you know about the law, could advice me, give me moral support, your shoulder to cry on etc. etc.

Again, what do you say? Could actually be the beginning of this book I was trying to "encourage" my lawyer in Iceland with. ? You could be my editors and legal advisers, you better than  Giuliani I would think.

 

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Took these pictures this morning taking the dogs for their walk. Right you are, I point the camera on stuff making us feel good, lot of other stuff, broken machinery, buildings needing repair and other depressing things to see. Just the way it is on a farm trying to keep on going in an environment where the small farms are gone. Was going to take pictures of the abandoned farms just within a mile of my farm. Maybe I do it maybe not, talk about depressing, even if I said half a mile.

Did the pig for the ground Yesterday. Everything went well, getting better at this all the time, will de-bone and grind today. Ran into trouble with the trotters and the head though, have to improve how I do them.

Struggling two hours cleaning the hair off. I have bred my pigs to have a coat (as you see in the "Love nest" picture) and that part of the problem. But just have to learn better. Ended up shaving some of hair off after scalding

and then burning the rest. I sold both the trotters and the head (head to be deboned) 

but if those customers don´t want them like this (will send them a link to this), I will just make head cheese out of everything and give to you as a bonus, think maybe, that the most efficient way to do both and you maybe bid on head cheese next time. Should not be against the USDA law to give you a taste I would think. The taste is very much in the skin, burning off the little bit of the hair left even improving the taste in my opinon. I am used to that taste in sheep-heads in Iceland (the best part of a sheep), all the hair burned off on the head and then scraped off. 

The best way to eat a pigs head of course is to put the whole thing in a oven with an apple in it's mouth, supposedly what Churchill and Stalin ate together when Churchill went to talk to Stalin in Moscow during the Second World War. 

The thing, don´t know the economy on this, spending hours doing a head not much per hour, but me here to serve. If others can put their lives on the line, I can clean a pigshead and feel good about it. This pig was black and some of the color left, not because of the burning.

One more thing, what do you think about me doing a different discussion on my case: "Kjarval vs. Iceland". Not to mix things up here you say , stick to the farming or would you think it okay? Would like your feedback. One reason I am doing this, like writing and find this good exercise learning how to write in English, think about my writings while doing farm chores.

 

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